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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrLausanne, the capital of the Canton of Vaud, is a city in Switzerland that lies on the banks of Lake Geneva. Made famous as the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, Lausanne boasts an impressive Old Town, vibrant nightlife, and prime access to the great outdoors.
With a population of just over 139,000 people, it is the fourth most populous city in Switzerland, in an area of approximately 41 km squared. Situated in the middle of Switzerland’s wine-growing region, the train ride into Lausanne is truly spectacular.
Olympic MuseumThe Olympic Museum in Lausanne offers a comprehensive history of the Olympic games, with exhibitions on ‘How well do you know the Olympic Games?’, and ‘The fundamentals of Olympism’. Great for older kids, the museum has some interactive exhibitions but there is an emphasis on historical information. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily, during the summer months, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day except Mondays, during the winter months. Adults over the age of 17 pay 15 CHF, with reduced rates for senior citizens, students, disabled persons and children. Kids under the age of 6 go free. To get to the museum by public transport, take the metro from Lausanne to Ouchy . From here the museum is a short walk along the lake.
Sauvabelin TowerFor great panoramic views, head to Sauvabelin Tower, which was opened in 2003, and is built entirely of wood. Traverse the 302 steps to the panoramic platform, situated 35 meters above the ground above the tree line, giving you an exceptional view across Lausanne. The tower is open in summer from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and in the winter with reduced hours. Its location in the middle of the forest means you can enjoy everything else the park has to offer including a restaurant and artificial lake. A perfect place for picnics on a summer day, or fondue at the Swiss chalet during the winter, the Sauvabelin Parc is a great place to take the kids for a day out. During bad weather the tower is often closed, so call 0041 21 315 42 74 to check if it is open if you’re unsure. To get there take bus number 16 from the central station to Lac de Sauvabelin.
Collection de l’Art BrutFor a truly eccentric experience head to Collection de l'art brut , located a little outside of the city, on Avenue des Bergieres. What is unique about this museum is that all the art was done by artists with a range of mental difficulties which often comes through in the art. With details of the mental states of the artists, the museum is interesting for those with a passion for art or psychology, in particular how we as humans express emotion. It is best not to take children as they are likely to be confused and bored by the museum, although there is nothing particularly graphic to be worried about. If you do bring young children consider getting an activity pack for them, available when you purchase tickets to keep them entertained.
Boat CruiseA boat cruise is a great way to experience the areas outside of Lausanne, and take in the scenery. Departing from the Port of Ouchy, CGN offers boat cruises to places around the lake, including to destinations such as Evian in France. The price of the trip is included in a tourist transportation card, and is otherwise normally no more than 10 CHF per person for an adult. Check the schedule for the boats online at www.cgn.ch. There are often speciality cruises also available including Valentine’s Day cruises, and food themed cruises offering fondue and other Swiss specialities on board.
Wine ToursIn the summer, spend a day experiencing the best wine-region in Switzerland, with a wine tour departing from Lausanne. Swiss Riviera offers custom, private wine tours, with a personal guide. Extremely flexible bookings can be made for 2 people or more, and features a 4-hour wine tour, with wine tastings and a picnic lunch with views of Geneva Lake. The company also offers guided pre-arranged wine tours in either the Lavaux region or the Aigle region, that include wine guides, wine tasting, lunch, visits to the wine cellars as well as transportation from your hotel in Lausanne. The tour is 225 CHF per person, provided there are at least six people on the tour.
EatingLe Tramway, a small bistro café located on Rue de la Pontaise serving non-pretentious, French and Swiss food made with quality ingredients. The menu is not extensive, but there are often specials, such as kangaroo steak, and the menu is very seasonal. The atmosphere is intimate, which means there is often a need to book, especially on the weekends, and for dinner reservations. Expect a meal with drinks to cost no more than $ 100 USD per person.
Eat Me is a restaurant with a different concept, similar to tapas, everything is served on small plates. The cuisine is international, with inspiration drawn from around the world, from fancy palates to more simple street food. Essential to go as a group, be prepared to share all the dishes. The menu changes each week, and the food is mostly seasonal. Find them at Rue Pepinet. For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re finding yourself a bit strapped for cash, head to Red Sea, an Ethiopian restaurant in the center of town. The food is very authentic and you eat everything with your hands. The portions are huge, and the meat is cooked to perfection. This is a great restaurant, whether you are looking for African cuisine or simply a delicious meal. The restaurant also stocks Ethiopian beer, as well as some other more exotic beers. If you do finish your meals, the waiter will offer you more food for free, so make sure you go hungry! Find them on Rue de la Tour, and be sure to make reservations.
AccommodationsBeau-Rivage Palace truly is a palace, with a huge veranda area looking out over an expansive pool, and the hotel situated behind it. The hotel features tennis courts, a hot tub, a pool, as well as a workout center, several restaurants, a bar and a lounge. Make sure to ask for a room with a view of the lake when you book, the location is perfect, on the lakeside offering spectacular views. The choice of restaurants is extensive, all with different price ranges and varying cuisines. One of the best is Miyako, a Japanese restaurant serving sushi and sashimi. Another is Café Beau-Rivage, offering Swiss cuisine, and gourmet steaks. Best in the summer when the terrace is open, it is well priced, especially if you get the menu of the day, which includes a main dish for 29 CHF during lunch hours.
When in Lausanne, Airbnb can be a great way to get a room, or even an entire apartment for the fraction of a price of a hotel room. For around $ 80 USD a night, you can find an entire apartment with enough space to accommodate two people, close to the center of town. For example, Stef’s place located just five minutes from the lake and ten minutes from the center of town offers a fully stocked kitchen, internet, heating and a flat screen TV including some English channels. Only suitable for longer stays, it is a perfect place if you are planning on travelling from Lausanne around the country, or simply want to spend more time in the city.
For those traveling on a budget head to the Lausanne Guesthouse and Backpacker, where a bed in a dorm room is just $ 40 USD a night, cheap for Switzerland! The hostel boasts a fully equipped kitchen, a garden with a public use BBQ, free WiFi and laundry services. You will also receive a free transportation pass that allows you to travel everywhere for free in Lausanne. It is extremely close to the train station, only a two-minute walk away, ideal if you are arriving late at night. Kids are welcome, but only in the private rooms, and the hostel offers them a special rate. Find them at Chemin des Epinettes.
ShoppingShopping in Lausanne is rather limited, and most things are cheaper across the border, however Lausanne’s markets offer something unique. The weekly and seasonal markets offer fresh produce as well as antiques and trinkets offered at the flea market. Every week the flea market sets up on a Thursday from 9.30 a.m., on Place Chauderon, and there are second-hand items and antiques on display – even if you don’t buy anything it’s fun to look through what is on display! If you in the area for Christmas be sure to check out the Christmas Market, open from the 10th of January, there are several markets around the city offering hot Swiss snacks and great ideas for presents.
SafetyLausanne, like much of the rest of Switzerland is considered safe by world standards. By Swiss standards, the city has in recent years had some trouble with drug users, although efforts are being made by the government to end this. Women should be careful walking alone at night, especially by the lake, and in the areas around the train station. Other than that the city is a really pleasant place, and people are in general very approachable and helpful.
Getting ThereThe nearest airport to Lausanne is Geneva airport, which handles international flights from around Europe as well as further afield. There are direct trains to Lausanne from the airport, running twice an hour, and the journey takes 45 minutes. There are also regular trains from Zurich, Bern and Geneva, running to Lausanne twice an hour. Once in Lausanne, the extensive bus network and the two-line tram railway link the city.
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Author: hannahbarkan. Last updated: Apr 07, 2015